Community Issues

 

BALLOT RECOMMENDATIONS

FROM THE RCR CHAIR, HEATHER DEVOS

Hello Fellow Republicans,

I am writing because I have been asked by some members to make recommendations as the Chair of Routt County Republicans about the issues and candidates on the November 7th ballot. Many others who are working and raising families may have been pressed for time to acquire and digest the election information as well.

I have gathered this information statewide from our 2023 State Ballot Information Booklet, state and county GOP leadership, and press; locally from the Coordinated Election brochure by Routt County Clerk, Jenny Thomas, and our county newspapers, and by participating in the November 11th Voter Forum, our Republican County Central Committee Meeting on October 11 where five city council members gave speeches and answered questions, attending and speaking at many Brown Ranch annexation committee meetings and city council meetings and talking with concerned Routt County residents, both Republican, Unaffiliated and Democrat voters, over the past many months.

We are all deeply concerned about our state and local issues and the Steamboat Springs city council race. Therefore, I present this information and my perspective not to tell you how to vote, but hopefully give you some facts, observations and my perspectives to aid you in making informed decisions as you vote. I hope that it helps.

Heather DeVos

Chair, Routt County Republicans

STATE-WIDE BALLOT ISSUES:

Proposition HH – Vote NO

The primary reason to vote no is that if passed the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) state spending limit will be abolished! All the money they promise to give to different local services will not be returned to you the taxpayer, both property owners and renters, and be taken to spend as stated.

The state government is not bound nor has a history of spending those funds where stated. Secondly the property tax relief they promise is small and temporary compared to what you will receive in TABOR refunds if this proposition is voted down. The bill which initiated the proposition allows 1% to be added to the TABOR’s and the taxpayers’ control on state spending, which is now limited by rate of population growth and inflation. This effectively gives the state government an exponential increase in amount of state taxes every year, estimated at billions of dollars within twenty years, which would have gone back to you, taxpayers. Additionally, the measure gives the legislature the power to remove TABOR refunds permanently when those10 years end!

The measure also limits the power and ability of our county to manage our property taxes locally and adjust mill rates according to the community’s values and input and gives the state government control by limiting local tax revenues received by local governments and by new control over future property taxes.

For more information see:

RCR Commentary, October 24, written by Pete Wood: https://www.steamboatpilot.com/opinion/guest-commentary/routt-county-gop-vote-no-on-proposition-hh/

Independence Institute Voter Guide:

https://i2i.org/voter-guide-2023/?mc_cid=2b699ccd8c&mc_eid=0fc345dc7f

 

Proposition II –Vote NO

Like Proposition HH, Proposition II undermines TABOR to put money into the Universal Preschool (PUK) Program. The amount of tax collected under 2020’s Prop EE, which raised taxes on nicotine products to pay for UPK, came in almost $24 million higher than estimated.

Those taxes by law under TABOR will be refunded to sellers of taxed products, who paid the taxes collected from the buyers. If passed the state would retain that additional money again allegedly for UPK but there are no accountability measures to ensure this. These funds will go back to the private sector and ultimately the taxpayer who bears the burden for all tax measures if this measure is voted down.

Most importantly the UPK program has had many issues and lawsuits from frustrated public-school leaders and private preschool providers because of multiple changes in the program’s implementation, failing to live up to its promises, changing qualifications due to funding shortfall and/or infringements on their First Amendment religious rights.  Vote no and so money ultimately stays in taxpayers’ pockets and so we can locally solve the problem here instead of gambling the state won’t reallocate it elsewhere.

For more information:

https://i2i.org/voter-guide-2023/?mc_cid=2b699ccd8c&mc_eid=0fc345dc7f

“Cost of pre-K puzzles parents: Universal pre-K funding brings little relief to some Steamboat families”, Steamboat Pilot and Today, Saturday, September 30, 2023

COUNTY BALLOT ISSUES:

CITY OF STEAMBOAT SPRINGS

City Council Races: There are only two contested races to vote on.

At Large- Vote for Daryl Levin

I recommend Daryl Levin because of his almost fifty years of residency in Routt County and his experience as a small business owner of multiple businesses and employee of the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation during this time. His extensive personal and local professional relationships that bridge all socio and economic levels and his personal knowledge of the cultural, political and financial history of the valley give him firsthand experience and insight to bring context and understanding to the pressing issues of today.

His messaging has been consistent, transparent, and forthright from the beginning of his campaign and throughout his campaign at the Voter Forum on October 11, his in attendance at the October 18 RCR central committee meeting and his registration and Lincoln Day Luncheon last Saturday and in multiple personal conversations. His ideas, stances and solutions are completely consistent with our republican principles of low taxes and individual rights and include application of private property rights with a proper understanding of private sector versus public sector to solve current local issues in a way that benefits all city residents and protects taxpayers. His solid knowledge of our U.S. and Colorado Constitutions will also serve him well. See his personal message to introduce himself here: https://www.steamboatpilot.com/search/daryl+levin+commentary

 

District 3: No Recommendation

Amy Dickson, (970) 946-3895, [email protected], Amy attended both the Voter Forum on October 11 and our RCR Central Committee meeting on October 18. Amy comes from a health field and non-profit background and is a full-time resident.

Jeff Liter, (612) 309-7653, [email protected]. Jeff comes from a business background and works out of town several months a year. I have had no personal contact from him to give any further information.

If you are a Steamboat Springs District 3 voter, I recommend checking their campaign literature and online sites, attending any future forums and googling their names. Online information provided by these, their campaigning and professional work searches will inform you of who they are and with whom they associate.

Final thoughts are that Amy is in town all year and therefore has been and may be more available than Jeff, but Jeff comes from a business background which usually makes for better governance decisions from a private sector perspective versus a non-profit’s. That said what kinds of business he is in and with whom he does business is very insightful and should be researched to determine your vote.

If you are not sure if you are in District 3, call the County Clerk, Elections office: (970) 879-1710, extension 2.

Ballot Question 2I (also written as 2i)- Vote NO

This ballot question gives 75% the Short-Term Rental (STR) tax to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority (YVHA) for the next twenty years and keeps that rate at 9%. This allows no flexibility for future city councils for twenty years to adjust to unforeseen possibly much higher priority city needs or from an economic downturn. The city can give these funds to YVHA every year if it wants to as its top priority. This is unnecessary and financially unwise.

Ballot Question 2F- Vote NO

This is a tax extension question when inflation is escalating to historic levels and lending rates are increasing along with predictions of financial market and economy downturns. Some Steamboat visitors are already facing higher accommodation costs due to the passage of the Short-Term Rental tax that is being passed on to them. Businesses subject to collecting this accommodation tax must add this tax to their costs and will not remain as competitive against other recreational business resort communities. Keep Steamboat family friendly and affordable for all visitors, who are the driving force of our small to large businesses.

Ballot Question 2G- Vote YES

This additional pay for city council is reasonable given inflation and the amount of time that is required of them as Steamboat Springs grows.

Ballot Question 2H –Vote YES

This is an audit deadline change only and is being requested by city staff to give the staff more time to prepare required audit. Because of the growth of the city and decades since this date was set this is a reasonable and prudent request.

TOWN OF YAMPA

Ballot Issue 2A – No Recommendation

Request to increase taxes for funding water and sewer capital infrastructure. Since this is an essential town service it may not only be reasonable to vote yes, but essential. I recommend you research and question the costs to verify the need and the project itself.

Ballot Issue 2B – No Recommendation

This is a related debt increases to Town of Yampa solely for financing improvement to the sewer system. Again, I recommend you research this project and ask are there other less costly alternatives. If not, then again this may not only be reasonable to vote yes, but essential.

TOWN OF HAYDEN:

Hayden School District: RE-1 Director at Large

Timothy Frentress – Recommended

Tim is from a multi-generational ranching family with deep cultural roots in the Yampa valley and a firm understanding of Republican principles, parental rights and other issues in education. A vote for him would be a vote for conservative traditional family values and bring common sense solutions to the school board. ~